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Aether Fuels & GTI Energy partner for sustainable aviation and shipping fuels

Aether Fuels and GTI Energy announced a partnership and global exclusive licensing agreement to commercialize a scalable and economical solution to produce sustainable fuels from low-value and abundant waste streams. The fuels will help aviation and ocean shipping companies (which combined generate more than four percent* of the world’s carbon emissions) achieve their net-zero ambitions. Aether is a venture-backed deep-tech climate company. GTI Energy is a non-profit technology development organization that creates innovative solutions for low-carbon, low-cost energy systems.

The Research and Development (R&D) partnership began in 2022 between Aether and GTI Energy seeking to build on a gas-to-liquid (“GTL”) technology program initiated by GTI Energy in 2016. The GTL program combines innovations in chemistry (catalysts), equipment (reactors), and process flows to convert gaseous waste carbon streams, such as captured carbon dioxide, industrial waste gases, biogas and converted agricultural residues, into liquid hydrocarbons. The technology development is supported by $6 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as further investments by Aether, which recently announced an $8.5 million funding round.

Together, Aether and GTI Energy have developed a new concept built upon the original GTL program that has the flexibility to convert a wide range of carbon feeds while also producing more product at lower cost than existing approaches. The new solution has been demonstrated in an integrated pilot line at GTI Energy’s Chicago-area campus producing 1.5 gallons of sustainable fuels per day. A 100 gallon per day integrated pilot will start construction at this campus in March.

This announcement marks a shift from R&D led by GTI Energy to a new commercialization phase led by Aether’s team of experienced business and technology executives. The licensing agreement gives Aether exclusive global rights to certain key GTI Energy GTL technologies for producing sustainable liquid hydrocarbons. The partnership extends Aether’s R&D contract with GTI Energy and establishes a comprehensive technology transfer program under which Aether will progressively take over and further R&D to scale the new solution. As part of this program, the Aether team will work alongside GTI Energy counterparts, establishing an R&D Center to access GTI Energy’s world-class facilities and team and run the pilot lines.

“Incubating transformative technologies is just one side of GTI Energy’s immense value; they are equally driven by a mission to commercialize the technologies so that they can impact the world,” said Aether CEO, Conor Madigan. “They are a world-class collaborator with a model that is geared to accelerate technology development and get it to market at scale. As we worked with GTI Energy’s scientists and leveraged the organization’s extensive R&D resources, we simultaneously built our leadership team and started implementing our global business strategy. This made us more agile and reduced our cost structures. Now, with the exclusive license, we can move fast to fulfill the potential of this breakthrough sustainable fuel production solution.”

“At GTI Energy, we value collaborative partnerships with visionary leaders seeking to create disruptive innovations by scaling integrated technology solutions to address consequential energy challenges,” said Paula Gant, President and CEO, GTI Energy.  “We are excited to work with Aether Fuels to leverage our foundational technology to shape low-carbon, low-cost fuels solutions for decarbonizing global economies.”

* https://www.iea.org/energy-system/transport/aviation

* https://www.iea.org/energy-system/transport/international-shipping

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